Smart and connected technology has the potential to transform homes and lives, but consumer uptake has been slower than expected.
Smart is a ‘disruptive’ technology, allowing us to do things we couldn’t do before. As part of this, it is making business & industry more efficient and through a new generation of connected devices, our homes are becoming increasingly automated.
The Internet of Things- smart technologies have the potential to go further. Your fridge will notify you when foods are past their sell-by date, reordering them for you. Smart traffic lights will talk to smart cars and reroute journeys to avoid delays. Our daily lives are and will become seamlessly integrated with smart technologies.
Despite all these positives, smart technology still has to overcome several reputational obstacles. The first is the ‘all-seeing eye and all-hearing ear’ in the home. According to a recent study by PWC, concerns about privacy and data protection are making end-users wary.
PWC’s connected homes survey found that alongside price (38%), ‘data privacy concerns represented a significant barrier to adoption for consumers who do not already own smart technology.’
Speaking on the matter, John Leary, sales and marketing director of Emplas, said: “There have been a number of high-profile data breaches and scandals which have impacted on how willing we are as consumers to embrace smart technologies.
“The Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal; the row about the involvement of Huawei, the Chinese-owned telecoms giant in the development of the UK’s 5G mobile network, which Huawei’s critics warn could compromise national security- smart products have become caught up in these high-profile rows and so slightly tarnished through association.
“Consumers may be warier, but our direction of travel is still firmly one way.”
According to the PWC, the increased caution shown by homeowners has not prevented the market for smart technologies in the UK to top £10.8bn this year. The study also suggests that home security is one area where homeowners may be prepared to allow for any ‘misgivings’, with negatives outweighed by perceived benefits smart home security technology can deliver.
More than 36% of those respondents planned to invest in smart technology within the next five years on top of the 11% who already have smart security systems installed within their homes.
John said: “At a headline level, we have a market that is already growing and with significant potential growth as smart technologies become more integrated and consumers are more comfortable with them.
“We also have to look at where the market is going. The PWC report highlights the importance of 18 to 35-year-olds as ‘aspirational homeowners’. They may not quite be on the property ladder but they are already embracing smart technologies (59%).
“As tomorrow’s homeowners and our future customers, smart technologies will become an increasingly important part of our offer as an industry going forward and will at some point set the standard for windows and doors.”
This analysis has driven us a company to offer Kubu, the smart locking system from Avantis as standard in all our composite and uPVC doors.
This hardware combines a high-performance multi-point locking mechanism with a smart sensor.
On Kubu, John added: “It’s fitted in the same way as any other door, it’s operated in exactly the same way. It’s cost-neutral to our customers and can be sold in the same way as any other composite door.
“If, however, you want to, you can upsell it as either pre-prepped for smart activation through the addition of the Kubu smart module, or a composite smart door system with it. Kubu offers a point of differentiation and significant market opportunities for installers who adopt it as part of their offer”.
The Kubu lock is upgraded from a standard multi-point locking system to smart technology through the optional insertion of a Kubu battery-powered module, with no wiring or additional work required.
This can then be linked to a mobile phone or tablet, giving the user full-visibility of the status of their lock real-time through an app. Easy to set up, Kubu works with other smart devices, including Alexa.
This can be set to deliver an alert if the owner leaves their home without locking the door, triggered as they disconnect from their home wifi.
John continued and said: “It gives the end-user peace of mind but importantly it isn’t invasive. Consumer reticence towards smart technology is a reaction to data concerns and in part by a concern about failure. “What if my system is hacked?” “Is my home – and it’s belongings- vulnerable?”
“Kubu is a high-performance multi-point locking system. It doesn’t have an automatic locking system or the potential vulnerabilities that go with it. You use a key to lock your door when you leave home, and if you forget, it tells you in time to go back and do so. The proposition is simple.”
Kubu has been designed to be simple to fit for the installer. If the end-user doesn’t want to enable Kubu notifications straight away, covers are left in place on re-routed housing in the door. If they do, these can be removed and the battery-powdered module slots in and is activated.
In May, we relaunched our composite door offer. As well as coming with the Kubu smart lock and sensor as standard, our doors feature an industry-leading slab with 4mm thick impact resistant skin and LVL subframe.
A high-density insulative foam core means that it delivers class-leading U-values as low as 0.9 W/m2K. Supplied as PAS24 standards, it comes with Secured by Design options such as laminated glass and dedicated letterplates. It also uses a dry and re-glazeable cassette should the glass need to be replaced. This means that the silicone isn’t required, making any remedial work or change of glass easier to service.
John summarised: “We’re first and foremost selling a door. We have a highly competitive composite door offer, to begin with.
“Kubu smart technologies and the smart Avantis high-performance multi-point locking mechanism give Emplas customers the opportunity to upsell that offer. Supplied as standard by us, they can do so at a cost-neutral price point.
“If they sell it as a standard door, smart pre-prepped or primed, or as a smart door with full Kubu notifications, it’s up to them, but across the board it delivers margin.”
For more information on the Kubu smart lock or our composite door range, you can contact Emplas on 01933 674 880 or fill out our online contact form.